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What would you have said?

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What would you have said?

Old 06-01-13, 05:06 PM
  #1  
Champlaincycler
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What would you have said?

Had a real close call today. Near the end of a ride, and a mile from home, I was coming down a very steep hill I've ridden hundreds of times. I was probably doing around 30-35 but felt much faster. There's a small antique business off to the side and out of its driveway comes a box van which does not stop and look but just cruises into the roadway, its about to make a left turn to go up the hill. Now, he's just about 30-40 yards from me and I really can't stop in time although I'm riding the brakes hard. He stops in my lane, so I figured he sees me and I start to go left (in the other lane!) to get around him. Then he chooses to slowly start up again and I'm left with plowing into him or trying to go around on my right and maybe going off the road fast and running into his clutter of an antique sign. Anyway, to my surprise, I made it past while keeping it together on a real narrow pathway of gravel and grass. Still can't believe that I didn't go down/over. A few motorcyclist that were behind me stopped and couldn't believe that I made it through, were sure that I was going to hit him. I'll just say that there were some seconds where I was certain I was not going to come out of this whole.

So, I tell the tale to a few friends, and we all know where this van driver lives and works, and they say that I should go and talk to him about this. This afternoon, I decided to go talk to him. He's 70'sh, certainly not a cyclist, had a stogie in his mouth. I introduced myself and shook his hand and said that I just wanted to talk a bit about the bicycle incident this morning. After clearing up what incident, he apologized and said he never saw me until the end. . He said he had eye surgery yesterday (had the big sunglasses to prove it). Said that when he leaves his business and turns left, he needs to go real slow as he makes the turn as he has a van full of furniture. Said he saw the motorcycles coming but not me. Really, if he just saw the motorcycles, he still should have stopped and waited. I feel I kind of let him off the hook as I only replied that maybe we both learned a lesson and that we both should be a little more careful in the future.

What would you have said to him in a civil tone that impressed upon him that he could have killed me? I need to know for next time..........
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Old 06-01-13, 05:10 PM
  #2  
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Dude shouldn't be driving if he just had eye surgery.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:13 PM
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You did fine.

I probably would have severely chastised him at the scene if I could have, which usually doesn't do anything other than cause useless ranting from both parties.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:23 PM
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Not to him,to the cops. This guy is both unsafe, driving impaired(illegal) and a danger to others. No matter how he needs to be off the road before he kills someone, to say nothing of how you'll feel if he does.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:23 PM
  #5  
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I should add that he drove off at the scene, didn't talk to him till 4 hours later.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:25 PM
  #6  
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He'll probably kill someone and feel real bad about it...
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Old 06-01-13, 05:29 PM
  #7  
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I'da pulled out my Walther P99 and shot out his tires and then hit is gas tank and watched him burst into flames.

Nah - I would have done nothing but give him a dirty look. I assume no driver sees me unless I make eye contact - no matter if I am biking or driving. I would not have confronted him as you did.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:31 PM
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He was still impaired then. If lens replacement surgery he is still impaired. Personally I would have a very hard time if I knew someone was impaired, didn't have enough brains or respect for others(your guy), I didn't try to stop him and he killed or injured someone.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:35 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
Not to him,to the cops. This guy is both unsafe, driving impaired(illegal) and a danger to others. No matter how he needs to be off the road before he kills someone, to say nothing of how you'll feel if he does.
+1

For the safety of others - perhaps even your friends. The cops can talk to him, you could sign a complaint if necessary - but likely it would not be necessary.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-01-13 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:50 PM
  #10  
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I thought you handled it well.

You may not like my opinion on this.... I think he was very wrong, but you are wrong too. You were riding at a speed that you couldn't stop. If you are in a car and ride so fast that you can't stop, you are driving reckless. Driveways are a potential hazard and as much as we all like to fly, sometimes you need to back down.

Either way, I am glad you are OK and I hope he learned a lesson.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:51 PM
  #11  
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Probably about the same as you.

I don't generally think of the right thing to say until a day or so later.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:58 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by lenny866 View Post
I thought you handled it well.

You may not like my opinion on this.... I think he was very wrong, but you are wrong too. You were riding at a speed that you couldn't stop. If you are in a car and ride so fast that you can't stop, you are driving reckless. Driveways are a potential hazard and as much as we all like to fly, sometimes you need to back down.

Either way, I am glad you are OK and I hope he learned a lesson.
+1.

Doesn't sound like a good place to pull 35 MPH.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:06 PM
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Riding downhill is like skiing downhill. Never get out of control - you were, or very close. The surgery patient was at fault but you could have been dead. About fifteen years ago I used to roller blade around DC at night with a couple of friends. We would head down a hill at 23rd St and cross Constitution at full speed. We started our run when the light at the bottom was red and it would turn green before we blasted through. Dumb, dumb, dumb. If someone ran the red we would be toast and they would have a few dents.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Riding downhill is like skiing downhill. Never get out of control - you were, or very close. The surgery patient was at fault but you could have been dead. About fifteen years ago I used to roller blade around DC at night with a couple of friends. We would head down a hill at 23rd St and cross Constitution at full speed. We started our run when the light at the bottom was red and it would turn green before we blasted through. Dumb, dumb, dumb. If someone ran the red we would be toast and they would have a few dents.
True but it was still awesome.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:29 PM
  #15  
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I probably wouldn't have even gone to see him. Given you did, I think you did fine.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:32 PM
  #16  
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This is a recurring dilemma. By being polite and not pushing any further, you might have convinced this narcissist that the other people on the planet matter and going to the cops might undo this. Then again, he may be one of those people who cannot be made to see beyond their own noses without some sort of official problem, such as a cop requiring him to immediately show up for retesting in order to keep his license (some states have provisions for older drivers who have become a danger by virtue of diminishing skills).

I've mostly given people the benefit of the doubt and just had the same friendly conversation that you did. However, this is mostly because it is not worth the hassle of trying to make a report since my state and local law enforcement really don't care and the DMV takes many many months to act on requests for retesting. If we had a more effective system, I might be more tempted to use it.
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Old 06-01-13, 07:26 PM
  #17  
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Daytime Flasher

People just don't look for cyclists. Drives me crazy - scares me to death sometimes.

I have recently purchased a Cygolite 700 for about $90 on Amazon. Incredible deal. This is a 700 lumen light and on flashing mode can easily be seen in bright daylight. It is just enough to catch people's attention when they're not looking for a bike. It feels like they're much more aware of me as they come out of driveways or make a turn into my lane.

I know it offends the purists - but it makes me feel much safer.

See you on the road,

JB
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Old 06-01-13, 07:46 PM
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Many people don't see us on bikes or motorcycles. They tend to look right through us because we are not common sights on the road.
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Old 06-01-13, 09:51 PM
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I believe you did the right thing the right way. Given that he apologized, it would appear that he recognized the error of his ways. Hopefully, this will lead him to be a little more alert. Not defending this driver, but I believe size matters. When most of us look before a turn, I believe we are conditioned by our environment to expect to see or not see something the size of a four-wheel vehicle, perhaps something a little smaller like a motorcycle. Because I am a cyclist, I try to be more alert to smaller objects moving in my direction. Bottom line, I'm glad you're OK.
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Old 06-01-13, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
+1.

Doesn't sound like a good place to pull 35 MPH.
+1

I agree with others that I think you did the right thing. I normally ride on the slower side because me on a bike will lose to any motor vehicle every time and I would like to have a long life.
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Old 06-02-13, 12:06 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Jacob1953 View Post
People just don't look for cyclists. Drives me crazy - scares me to death sometimes.

I have recently purchased a Cygolite 700 for about $90 on Amazon. Incredible deal. This is a 700 lumen light and on flashing mode can easily be seen in bright daylight. It is just enough to catch people's attention when they're not looking for a bike. It feels like they're much more aware of me as they come out of driveways or make a turn into my lane.
+100,000

Your story is why I NEVER ride without a front and rear strobe. I use a MiNewt 600. They have a new model out now, the 650. The above unit is good also. Make sure you run it on strobe mode. A solid light will get lost in the background. For the rear, I use a Dinotte 300R. The only time I don't use them is if in a group ride or on a MUP. Otherwise, they are always on. The difference in how traffic "treats" me is unbelievable. They actually stop now, and give a wide berth. I'm a believer!

By the way, I think you handled the situation well.
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Old 06-02-13, 04:36 AM
  #22  
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Sounds to me like you did a helluva job avoiding him. In situations like that most people on two wheels get in trouble because they don't anticipate the possibilities in the first place. I've been down hills on a bicycle at speeds up to 55 mph in the past but that is a thing of the past given the lack of sight lines on almost all roads where I ride and the poor performance of bicycle brakes. As I motorcyclist I learned long ago that people "don't see" you and it's up to me to have a way out of any situation.


Your encounter with him was also handled well IMO. I would however go to the police and tell your story and make them aware that in his present physical condition he continues to be a threat to others. Make the report formal because once it's in writing the police know that if he hurts someone else and it comes out that they knew of his impairment someone is in deep shi*t. I'm betting there's a means to require he be vision tested by the State DMV. What bothers me is that this guy has admitted he has a problem with vision and continues to operate a machine that often kills people. He cares more about his convenience than others' lives. If he's stopped now someone else may have their life saved. Your conversation with him may have been amicable but he is not a responsible person. And he's a danger to others.
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Old 06-02-13, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
+1.

Doesn't sound like a good place to pull 35 MPH.
+1
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Old 06-02-13, 08:30 AM
  #24  
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+ another for riding with lights during the day plus I wear hi-viz clothing.

He shouldn't have been driving that soon, but you handled it well. The surgery doesn't excuse the potential accident and danger he put you in--I wonder what other times he's driven impaired since it doesn't appear that he recognizes the seriousness of his limitation.
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Old 06-02-13, 09:15 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by lenny866 View Post
I thought you handled it well.

You may not like my opinion on this.... I think he was very wrong, but you are wrong too. You were riding at a speed that you couldn't stop. If you are in a car and ride so fast that you can't stop, you are driving reckless. Driveways are a potential hazard and as much as we all like to fly, sometimes you need to back down.

Either way, I am glad you are OK and I hope he learned a lesson.
I might be a bit bias as I was a commercial truck driver trainer and tester, but everyone, including us cyclists, should practice defensive driving.
I also like the high powered strobe lights on bikes. Often a cyclist using one can be seen from a great distance even amongst severe congestion and terrible weather conditions including road spray.
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